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BYZANTINE EMPIRE

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in the East during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, which had been founded as Byzantium). It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.[1] During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman/Byzantine Empire, and also of the brief Latin, and the later Ottoman empires. From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe and it was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. After the final loss of its provinces in the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, and the city eventually fell to the Ottomans after a month-long siege in 1453.

Feudalism

Feudalism was the dominant social system in medieval Europe, in which the nobility held lands from the Crown in exchange for military service, and vassals were in turn tenants of the nobles, while the peasants (villeins or serfs) were obliged to live on their lord's land and give him homage, labor, and a share of the produce, notionally in exchange for military protection.
During the Middle Ages a portion of land called a fief would be granted by the King. This reward would be granted to him by his lord in exchange for his services. The recipient of the fief would be one of his vassals. The fief, or land, was usually granted following a Commendation Ceremony. The commendation ceremony was designed to create a lasting bond between a vassal and his lord. Fealty and homage were a key element of feudalism.
  • At the top of the Feudalism Pyramid was the King
  • The King claimed ownership of the land
  • The King granted the land to important nobles - these nobles then pledged their loyalty by swearing to serve and protect the king
  • The king also granted land to the less powerful military men (the knights) who were called vassals
  • The vassals also agreed to fight for the king in exchange for their land.
  • The land was worked by the peasants or serfs. They belonged to the land and could not leave without permission - the bottom of the Feudalism pyramid.

Tang Dynasty

The Tang dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It is generally regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization, and a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Its territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty, and the Tang capital at Chang'an was the most populous city in the world.
Li Yuan, known as Emperor Gaozu of Tang, ruled until 626, when he was forcefully deposed by his son Li Shimin, the Prince of Qin. Li Shimin had commanded troops since the age of 18, had prowess with bow and arrow, sword and lance and was known for his effective cavalry charges. Fighting a numerically superior army, he defeated Dou Jiande at Luoyang in the Battle of Hulao on May 28, 621.[22][23] In a violent elimination of royal family due to fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed two of his brothers, Li Yuanji (b. 603) and Crown prince Li Jiancheng, in the Xuanwu Gate Incident on July 2, 626. Shortly thereafter, his father abdicated in his favor and Li Shimin ascended the throne. He is conventionally known by his temple name Taizong.

Islam

Islam is the religion of the Muslims, a monotheistic faith regarded as revealed through Muhammad as the Prophet of Allah, the Muslim world. It is the world's second-largest religion and the fastest-growing major religion in the world, with over 1.7 billion followers or 23% of the global population, known as Muslims. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique and He has guided mankind through revealed scriptures, natural signs, and a line of prophets sealed by Muhammad. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE).
Islam is often seen as having the simplest doctrines of the major religions. Its most fundamental concept is a rigorous monotheism, called tawḥīd. God is described in chapter 112 of the Quran as: "Say, He is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him". Muslims repudiate polytheism and idolatry, called Shirk, and reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and divinity of Jesus. In Islam, God is beyond all comprehension and Muslims are not expected to visualize God. God is described and referred to by certain names or attributes, the most common being Al-Rahmān, meaning "The Compassionate" and Al-Rahīm, meaning "The Merciful" (See Names of God in Islam). Muslims believe that the creation of everything in the universe was brought into being by God's sheer command, "'Be' and so it is,"and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. He is viewed as a personal god who responds whenever a person in need or distress calls him. There are no intermediaries, such as clergy, to contact God who states, "I am nearer to him than (his) jugular vein."[58] God consciousness is referred to as Taqwa.

Mongols

The Mongols are an East-Central Asian ethnic group native to Mongolia and China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. They also live as minorities in other regions of China, as well as in Russia.In various times Mongolic peoples have been equated with the Scythians, the Magog and the Tungusic peoples. Based on Chinese historical texts the ancestry of the Mongolic peoples can be traced back to the Donghu, a nomadic confederation occupying eastern Mongolia and Manchuria. The identity of the Xiongnu (Hünnü) is still debated today. Although some scholars maintain that they were proto-Mongols, they were more likely a multi-ethnic group of Mongolic and Turkic tribes.[16] It has been suggested that the language of the Huns was related to the Hünnü.
The original religion of the Mongolic peoples was Shamanism. The Xianbei came in contact with Confucianism and Daoism but eventually adopted Buddhism. However, the Xianbeis in Mongolia and Rourans followed a form of Shamanism. In the 5th century the Buddhist monk Dharmapriya was proclaimed State Teacher of the Rouran Khaganate and given 3000 families and some Rouran nobles became Buddhists. In 511 the Rouran Douluofubadoufa Khan sent Hong Xuan to the Tuoba court with a pearl-encrusted statue of the Buddha as a gift. The Tuoba Xianbei and Khitans were mostly Buddhists, although they still retained their original Shamanism. The Tuoba had a "sacrificial castle" to the west of their capital where ceremonies to spirits took place. Wooden statues of the spirits were erected on top of this sacrificial castle. One ritual involved seven princes with milk offerings who ascended the stairs with 20 female shamans and offered prayers, sprinkling the statues with the sacred milk. The Khitan had their holiest shrine on Mount Muye where portraits of their earliest ancestor Qishou Khagan, his wife Kedun and eight sons were kept in two temples. Mongolic peoples were also exposed to Zoroastrianism, Manicheism, Nestorianism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam from the west. The Mongolic peoples, in particular the Borjigin, had their holiest shrine on Mount Burkhan Khaldun where their ancestor Börte Chono (Blue Wolf) and Goo Maral (Beautiful Doe) had given birth to them. Genghis Khan usually fasted, prayed and meditated on this mountain before his campaigns. As a young man he had thanked the mountain for saving his life and prayed at the foot of the mountain sprinkling offerings and bowing nine times to the east with his belt around his neck and his hat held at his chest. Genghis Khan kept a close watch on the Mongolic supreme shaman Kokochu Teb who sometimes conflicted with his authority. Later the imperial cult of Genghis Khan (centered on the eight white gers and nine white banners in Ordos) grew into a highly organized indigenous religion with scriptures in the Mongolian script. Indigenous moral precepts of the Mongolic peoples were enshrined in oral wisdom sayings (now collected in several volumes), the anda (blood-brother) system and ancient texts such as the Chinggis-un Bilig (Wisdom of Genghis) and Oyun Tulkhuur (Key of Intelligence). These moral precepts were expressed in poetic form and mainly involved truthfulness, fidelity, help in hardship, unity, self-control, fortitude, veneration of nature, veneration of the state and veneration of parents.

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